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Scopes, Characteristics, and Main Approaches of Psychology

Communication has an important role in everyday life. Be it intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication, group communication, and mass communication. Communication psychology seeks to understand communication events by understanding the internal state. Communication psychology studies how humans interact and communicate with each other based on a psychological review.

Psychology Communication

Why do we communicate? What is the function of communication for humans? This question is so broad, that it can be seen from various points of view, so it is not easy for us to answer. The importance of communication is because of the problems that arise as a result of communication. Humans cannot live alone. He naturally has to live with other humans, both for the sake of his survival, his safety, and for the sake of his descendants. Humans must live in society. The community can be small, as small as a household consisting of only two husbands and wives, it can be large, as big as you, village, sub-district, district or city, province, and state.

There is a very interesting story about a child who has a communication disorder because from a young age he was not taught how to communicate.

In 1970, in California, a 50 year old mother ran away from her home after an argument with her 70 year old husband. She took her child, a 13 year old girl with her. They came asking for help from social welfare officers. But the officer saw strange things in the girl he was carrying. His behavior did not show that of a normal child. His body was stooped, emaciated, dirty and pitiful. The whole time he was spitting incessantly, not a single word came out of his mouth. Officers thought this girl had been abused by her mother. Politicians were summoned, and both parents had to deal with the courts. On the day of the trial, the girl's father killed himself with a gun. He left a note, “the world will never understand.”

Maybe he was right. The world will not understand how a father could hate his child so much. Investigations later revealed that Genie, as the girl was given the name, spent her childhood in a hell created by her father. Since childhood, his father tied Genie in a tight seat. All-day long he was kept in a kind of iron cage. Often he was hungry. But when Genie cries, his father beats him. The father never spoke. The mother is too blind to take care of it. It was Genie's older brother who ended up trying to feed and drink. That too, according to his father's orders, had to be done quietly, without making a sound. Genie never heard people talking. His sister and mother often chatted in whispers, for fear of his father.

Scopes, Characteristics, and Main Approaches of Psychology
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When Genie was admitted to the hospital, it was not known whether he could speak or understand people's speech. He was silent. His intelligence is no different from that of a one-year-old child. The world may never understand. But the discovery of Genie has piqued the curiosity of psychologists, linguists, neurologists, and those who study the development of the human brain. Genie is a rare example of a human child who since childhood has rarely had the opportunity to communicate. Genie's discovery caught my eye. Genie is not equipped with the skills to express his thoughts in the form of symbols that are understood by others. Does this lack of skills hinder other mental development? Do brain cells experience growth retardation? Is his entire cognitive system paralyzed? These are among the many questions that led Susan Curtis, professor of linguistics at the University of California, to devote seven years to researching Genie.

The story above explains that first, communication is essential for the growth of the human personality. Second, lack of communication will hinder personality development. Communication is closely related to the behavior and experience of human consciousness.

In the history of its development, communication has been magnified by psychological researchers. The father of Communication Science called Wilbur Schramm is a psychology graduate. Kurt Lewin is a group dynamics psychologist. Communication is not a subdiscipline of psychology. As a science, communication is studied in various disciplines, including sociology and psychology.

Scope of Communication in Psychology

As a social being, apart from being an individual being, you may have various characteristics that you display when you communicate with other people. The study that studies how individuals interact and communicate as social beings based on a psychological perspective is a strength of the sociopsychological tradition of thought and is often also called communication psychology. The thought that comes from the field of social psychology has developed into a very influential thought in communication science, especially communication theory.

Thus, communication psychology, which was originally a discipline derived from social psychology, later developed into a broad part of communication science. Communication psychology studies how humans interact and communicate with each other based on a psychological review. Studies conducted in the discipline of communication psychology have produced various theories and thoughts which, when reviewed based on the structure of the latest communication theory building, are under the auspices of a group of thought or tradition called sociopsychology which views individuals as social beings. In other words, the science of communication psychology is built on various theories that seek to explain how individuals interact with each other based on a psychological review.

Psychological explanations are very important in the sociopsychological tradition that produced the discipline of communication psychology because according to this thinking there is a universal mechanism in each individual that will direct his actions. This universal mechanism can be identified through careful research. as a result, this tradition of thought is often associated with the “science of communication” (Morissan, 2010).

Hovland, Janis, and Kelly, all psychologists, define communication as “the process by which an individual (the communicator) transmits stimuli (usually verbal) to modify the behavior of other individuals (the audience). Dance defines communication in the psychological framework of behaviorism as an attempt to "generate a response through verbal symbols."

The psychological dictionary, mentions six meanings of communication:
  1. Transmission of energy changes from one place to another such as in the nervous system or transmission of sound waves.
  2. Submission or reception of signals or messages by organisms.
  3. Message delivered
  4. (Communication Theory) The process is carried out from one system to another through the regulation of the transmitted signals.
  5. (K. Lewin) The influence of one area of ​​persona on another area of ​​a persona so that changes in one area cause changes related to other areas.
  6. The message of the patient to the therapist in psychotherapy.
Psychology tries to analyze all the components involved in the communication process. In self-communication, psychology provides the characteristics of the communicant as well as internal and external factors that influence communication behavior. In communicators, psychology traces their traits and asks: What causes one source of communication to succeed in influencing others, while another source of communication does not?

Psychology is also interested in communication between individuals: how messages from one individual become a stimulus that elicits a response in another individual. Communications may be intended to inform, entertain or influence. Persuasion itself can be defined as the process of influencing and controlling the behavior of others through a psychological approach.

Characteristics of a Communication Psychology Approach

Somewhat settled on the study of communication are sociology, philosophy, and psychology. Sociology studies social interactions. Social interaction must be preceded by contact and communication. Therefore every communication book must allude to communication. In the modern world, communication technology has developed in such a way that no modern society can survive without communication.

To understand the organization and functioning of groups as complex as a society, we need to examine communication at all levels. One level, mass communication, implies the use of electronic and mechanical means. As modern society grows larger and more complex, the media are increasingly relied on to achieve certain group goals such as spreading the news, providing mass entertainment, selling goods, directing political deals, etc. Psychologists are very interested in how different types of societies develop certain systems of mass communication to achieve their goals.

Sociology studies communication in the context of social interaction, in achieving group goals. As the quote above describes the characteristics of the sociological approach.

Fisher mentions four characteristics:
  1. Reception of sensory stimuli.
  2. Processes that mediate stimulus and response.
  3. Response prediction.
  4. Information of responses.
Communication psychology looks at how responses that occurred in the past can predict future responses.

Communication psychology is a science that seeks to describe predicting and controlling mental and behavioral traits in communication (George A. Miller).

Social psychology is an attempt to understand, explain, and predict how an individual's thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by the perceived thoughts, feelings, and actions of others (whose presence may be actual, imagined, or implied).

One more different approach to communication psychology:
  1. Get rid of all partiality and all attempts to judge normatively (what is right, what is wrong).
  2. When formulating general principles, communication psychologists must break down events into smaller units for analysis.
  3. Communication psychologists try to understand communication events by understanding the internal state.

Use of Communication Psychology

What are the signs of effective communication? Effective communication according to Stewart L. Tubbs and Sylvia Moss raises five things:

1. Understanding

Understanding means careful acceptance of the contents of the stimuli as intended by the communicator. According to the story, a VOC troop leader intended to honor a Madurese prince. For that, he held the hand of the empress and kissed her. The prince was angry. He pulled out his keris, stabbed the Dutch and there were years of VOC war with the Madurese so that thousands of victims fell. We don't know whether the story is true or false, but how often we fight just because our message is interpreted differently by the person we are talking to. Failure to receive messages carefully is called primary communication failure. To avoid this we need to understand at least the psychology of the message and the psychology of the communicator.

2. Fun

This communication is called phatic communication, intended to cause pleasure. This communication can be warm, intimate, and fun. When we say "good morning, how are you?", we do not mean to seek information. The communication is done simply to get the other person to feel what transactional analysts call “I'm OK- you're OK. This communication is called phatic communication, intended to cause pleasure.

3. Affects attitude

Persuasive communication requires an understanding of the factors in the self-communicate. Persuasion is defined as "the process of influencing people's opinions, attitudes, and actions by using psychological manipulation so that the person acts as he wishes".

4. Good Social Relations

Willliam Schutz (1996) details this social life in terms of three aspects of inclusion, control, and affection. Social needs are the needs to develop and maintain satisfying relationships with others in terms of interaction and association (inclusion), control of power (control), and love and affection (affection).

In short, we want to join and relate to other people, we want to control and be controlled, and we want to love and be loved. These social needs can be met with effective interpersonal communication.

5. Action

Persuasion is also intended to produce the desired action. Communication to generate understanding is difficult, but even more difficult to influence attitudes.

The effectiveness of communication is usually measured by the actual actions taken by the committee.

Taking concrete action is indeed the most important indicator of effectiveness. Because to cause action, we must first succeed in instilling understanding, forming and changing attitudes, or growing good relationships. Action is the cumulative result of the entire communication process. This requires not only an understanding of all the psychological mechanisms involved in the communication process but also the factors that influence human behavior.

DRS. Rakhmat, Jalaluddin, Communication Psychology, Bandung, PT Teen Rosdakarya, 2008
Morrisson, M.A, Psychology of Communication, Bogor, Ghalia Indonesia, 2010 Effendy, Onong Uchjana, Science, Theory and Philosophy of Communication, Bandung, PT Citra Aditya bakti, 2003